What Is “Gross Negligence” In Kentucky Personal Injury Cases
In Kentucky, when someone is responsible for causing a personal injury they can be found guilty of gross negligence. Gross negligence goes beyond normal carelessness and demonstrates an extreme disregard for the safety of others.
Victims can claim gross negligence was present when they got hurt and receive extra compensation for their injuries and even be awarded something called “punitive damages.”
Gross Negligence in Kentucky Personal Injury Cases
Common negligence is demonstrated in personal injury cases when an at-fault party doesn’t show a level of care that a reasonable person would show in a similar situation. Because of this lack of care, someone gets hurt.
Regular negligence can include accidents caused by a simple mistake by drivers on Kentucky interstates. It can also include a slip-and-fall on a puddle allowed to sit on a grocery store aisle. Victims could take a tumble down a crumbling set of stairs that a property owner failed to repair.
Gross negligence goes further than regular negligence and can include taking reckless action or acting with extreme disregard for someone else’s safety. At-fault parties may realize the harm their actions could cause but proceed anyway. In these cases, the defendant doesn’t intend to cause harm, but their behavior provides an elevated risk they should have been aware of.
Is Gross Negligence Erased By Waiver Forms?
In some cases, a defense team may claim the victim knew of the risks they were undertaking because they signed a waiver form. Waiver forms often prohibit victims from suing others for negligence once they’ve been signed. At-fault parties will say this “assumption of risk” means they are blameless when you get hurt.
These agreements do offer some protection to individuals and businesses when customers or visitors to their property get hurt. However, a waiver form generally covers common negligence. When the negligence is far and above normal carelessness, it’s often possible to file a lawsuit involving gross negligence.
Gross Negligence in Personal Injury Cases Involving Immunity
Gross negligence may also provide a route to earning support for victims when the at-fault parties enjoy special legal protections. These people or entities may be protected by a waiver form (or many waiver forms) or a special statute that prohibits them from facing litigation over negligence.
This immunity can include government employees and departments, certain medical professionals, and airlines, and other transportation companies. The good news is this protection often extends only to claims of negligence. If gross negligence is shown to be instrumental in an injury, victims are usually allowed to move forward with a lawsuit.
People or entities immune from lawsuits over negligence lose that legal protection when gross negligence can be proven.
Punitive Damages in Gross Negligence Cases
Gross negligence may provide elevated compensation for victims and their families, just when they need it most. This extra compensation can come from punitive damages. These damages are meant to add extra penalties when an at-fault party, often corporations and other businesses, exhibited a reckless disregard for the safety of others.
Punitive damages are assessed to deter the company from ever behaving so recklessly again. They are also meant to discourage other companies from taking similar action.
A personal injury lawyer would determine if punitive damages are reasonable for a particular case and would request them in a lawsuit. A judge or jury would have to decide if punitive damages are warranted depending on the circumstances of the case. If they are awarded, victims receive punitive damages on top of any compensation they receive for compensatory damages (economic and non-economic hardships the victim endures).
Contact A Personal Injury Lawyer in Kentucky
If you have been seriously hurt in an accident by an act of negligence or actions that went beyond negligence, make sure you don’t face your physical and financial challenges alone. Insurance companies are happy to leave you in the dark about what’s available to you as a victim of someone’s gross negligence. A skilled Kentucky Personal Injury Attorney will make sure you know your rights and then ensure those rights are respected.
When you have questions about how your personal injury case should proceed, contact Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, for a free case consultation session. This informational session comes with no obligation to you. Our goal is to make sure you are informed of everything those at fault for your accident should be responsible for.